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Task force constituted to curb cybercrimes against children

Islamabad : Taking cognisance of perpetual increase in cases of cybercrimes against children, Wafaqi Mohtasib has formed a high-level task force to evolve a holistic plan of action to curb such offences by addressing systemic issues through short, medium and long term measures.

Task Force Convener Syeda Waqar un Nisa Hashmi told this to APP on Monday while sharing its Terms of Reference (ToRs), decided in the first meeting which held here under chairmanship of Federal Ombudsman Syed Tahir Shahbaz through a video link the other day.

She said the task force, which was formed after realising bottlenecks in the contemporary system, involved officials from the Law Enforcement Agencies, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, a psychologist with expertise in the relevant field and parliamentarians.

She said the task force’s ToRs focused on identifying practical challenges to prevent dissemination of pornographic material, reviewing cybercrime laws, enhancing coordination among the LEAs, establishing cybercrime cells in police stations and constituting thematic sub-committees for the purpose.

Viquar un Nisa, who also holds portfolio of Commissioner for Children and Transgender at Wafaqi Mohtasib, said it was also being considered to take the international development partners, like UNICEF, and national level non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in this area, on board to prevent such crimes in an effective manner.

Out of total population, she said 48 to 50 per cent children were less than 18 years of age, of whom 30-40% was living below poverty line.

Unfortunately, there was no Child Ombudsman or any other such institution exclusively for children in Pakistan.

She said presently, child related complaints and crimes fell under the jurisdiction of police of respective provinces and other law enforcement agencies, but unfortunately, the culprits remained scot-free in most of cases due to legal lacunae and their limited capacity to properly investigate and prosecute offenders of such heinous crimes.

The convener said though, no authentic data of cyber-crimes was available yet, millions of pornographic websites were flourishing globally.

Child’s Play, Play Pen, Red Room and Hurt 2 Core were some of the busted violent pornographic websites that operated on the Dark Web, she added.

She cited countries like United States of America, United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Australia, and Philippines as example that had busted the Dark-web-child-porn-rings.

Waqar un Nisa noted that another issue was the uploading of the pornographic videos on social media that was the cause of psychological stress on the children and parents.

The pornographic videos were also disseminated through CDs.

She said these crimes in Pakistan surfaced for the first time around 2010. The report of joint-investigation team revealed the confiscation of such videos from Kasur.

Waqar Un Nisa maintained that a major impediment in curbing such crimes in Pakistan was reluctance of the victims to come forward due to social taboos, and flaws in the relevant substantive and procedural laws.

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